Where I’ve been + some long overdue updates

Bernie Anés PazLife & Thoughts1 Comment

Heya, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I want to begin this post by apologizing, though in my humble defense I’ll say that it was more of an unplanned vacation at the start. I was involved in an accident that totaled my car and jacked up my right arm enough to require minor tendon surgery and an adjustable brace, then, because my luck is just fantastic, I ended up with COVID soon after despite being vaccinated. That was miserable enough, but I also had to navigate my employer’s honestly heartless whining and threats over missing so much time from work despite using my sick leave and paid days off, which I never otherwise use. Losing my job after just having gotten it would have been disastrous for me, so in between discussions with my boss, I was looking for another one just in case.

So yeah, calling those months stressful would be an understatement. I know mental health still isn’t something everyone feels is appropriate to talk about, but I was pretty depressed and needed some time to myself. Didn’t mean for it to go on for this long, but the good news is that the break was mostly from my socials. I’ve continued working on my novels whenever possible, though the arm injury affected my schedule more that I’m happy with, but it is what it is.

Anyway, that pretty much more or less sums up where I’ve been these past several months. Let’s move on to some project updates:

Website Refresh

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the banner now uses the artwork for my first novel since I feel guilty about not having yet gotten around to doing all the things I wanted to do with it. I’ve also deleted my Facebook account. Never really used it anyway, as I’ve always hated Facebook, and that’s becoming the general sentiment these days, so I don’t feel all that bad about dumping it. I still use Twitter moderately, but as always, I’m most active on Reddit.

My website is still the best place to come for updates. I also send out major ones via newsletters. They don’t get sent out often, so you won’t get spammed if you want to go that route.

Islandborn

Unfortunately, not much to say here. My plans remain the same, which is a ‘touch-up’ rewrite of Cradle of Sea and Soil to tighten the entire book up a bit and do some extra cleaning of the end third of the book, which is where most people have found issues. The second book, Stormbringers, is embarrassingly further along than you’d believe, and the cover artwork has been finished since forever now.

As mentioned previously, I made the tough decision of benching it for the time being while I build up my presence in the progression fantasy subgenre. Islandborn is a very personal project close to my heart, but the Eldest Throne series is what’s been helping pay for editing and cover work. I also immensely enjoy writing in the subgenre, and its readers in general are far more friendly towards indie writers right now.

I do want to clarify that I haven’t given up on Islandborn, just that I’ve placed it on the back-burner for now in favor of my progression fantasy projects.

Eldest Throne 3 “The Endless Shore”

Lots of good news here. No cover artwork yet, but that’s coming up soon. It’ll be featuring Fane and Oyrivia, as this book has a heavy focus on the two of them, though more so Fane. It’s mostly done, and book 4, which is riding right off 3, has pretty much all of its framing done, so hopefully the gap here shouldn’t be anywhere near as long.

Book 3 has also been renamed from its tentative title, “The Lowest Paradise,” to “The Endless Shore.” Might use the first title later, but the second fits the book better, which is why I went with it. It’s set to become the biggest Eldest Throne book yet and will be thicccccccc. It’ll contain two major plotlines: the A-plot will focus on Roun and Sethra, both of which get a ton of progression on both a personal and power-based level. You’ll also get to see the normal, everyday side of the XXX Demesne, as well as the deepest perspective of the resident library’s secret training grounds thanks to Roun’s attempts at overcoming it and its grouchy, performance-obsessed warden.

This is the inspiration I’m using for the training grounds; I found it on a wallpaper repository, so I unfortunately don’t know who the artist is (please let me know if you do), but it’s it fit perfectly minus the dragon so it’ll be a great visualization guide for writing it up:

As for Sethra… well, something happens early in the novel that shifts Kuro’s suggestion for her personal training project. It has something to do with a unique kindred, one I think you guys will absolutely love. While dealing with the kindred, Sethra also pursues another goal and, as with everyone else, will also make use of the training grounds.

Fane and Oyrivia will make up the B-plot. You’ll finally get to see whether Fane’s fiancee actually exists, as well as learn what clan he belongs to and what its role is in the empire. Coincidentally, you will also get a view of the empire’s—and specifically the Lyonessan Demesne’s—shadowy underbelly, though I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how it all plays out. Oyrivia will get a bit of additional development, but the major focus this time will be on Fane and his past, though she will end up playing an incredibly important role in what happens and what his future might be. As a result of all this, you’ll also get a far better view of the empire as a whole, as well as more of its secrets…

Laeshiro and Kamil don’t get as much development in this novel—book 4 will revolve around them—but they will still of course progress, it’ll just be more power-based than personal. Of course, the specific nature of that, or at least part of it, should have been made obvious by book 2—Familiars will play a bigger role this time around.

Don’t worry about these two though, as they will still play a big role in the final events of the novel, which will hopefully have you at the edge of your seats. We’re not quite at the point yet where too many hands are revealed, but it should still leave you with a clearer picture of what might lie in waiting for our heroes.

And that should about do it! I don’t have a specific release date for this, though I had originally planned to have it done midway this year. That obviously didn’t happen. Mostly because of the delays, but also because I didn’t want to rush things. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I want to make sure it’s as polished as possible, and that’s a little harder this time because of the book’s size.

Super Special Secret Project

What the heck is going on, you ask? Well, the short of it is that I get antsy whenever I’m afflicted with writer’s block, because I remain in the mood to write and don’t typically feel like doing anything else, but my brain stays a blank so I just end up staring at my screen for hours, wasting time… So, I long ago realized it’s easier for me to just write something else and allow my creative juices to start flowing again before getting back to my main project. This alternative work is usually world-building or maybe a few short stories I’ll write for myself, but this time I decided to start scraping together a second series together so I don’t get burnt out on the Eldest Throne.

That’s what this book is; a new progression fantasy series I plan on writing alongside the Eldest Throne. I chose to write it over finishing Islandborn specifically because I wanted to continue focusing on the progression fantasy genre, and this will be the first series in the subgenre that I write from scratch (the Eldest Throne was something I prototyped and did a lot of world-building on before progression fantasy was even really a thing). This is part of my plans to move fully into the subgenre and adopt it as my primary focus as a writer. This means Islandborn will probably be my first and last non-progression fantasy series, but we’ll see.

Unlike the Eldest Throne, this will be a typical three book trilogy. The books are still chunky, but at least this means you won’t have to wait for eleven books or whatever like with most progression fantasy series. Because of that, I expect this to series to be complete before the Eldest Throne, which was originally planned to be six books but might end up being at least eight or more based on my current planning.

This new series features a druid that uses geomancy-style magic—the Final Fantasy kind where your environment influences what abilities you can and can’t use. Now isn’t the time to go into the full details, but the magic system also employs affixed, evolving runes inspired by Suikoden.

This book is actually mostly done and was planned for release at the start of the year, if you can believe it. Life, right? The cover artwork is also already done. All the novel needs is editing, which is why I want to get it finished up real quick before turning back to the Eldest Throne 3. I should have this one out really, really soon—likely November or early December.

I know it sounds like I’m taking on too much, but in my mind, I have Islandborn on hiatus for a while and am just focusing on the new series and the Eldest Throne in alternation. This way, I won’t get burnt out on the Eldest Throne and will have something to fall back to whenever I need to take a break from it. I still would have taken those breaks, so this at least keeps them productive.

Rather than making promises, though, I would rather show you, so here’s for an adventure-filled 2023.

Final Thoughts

I want to finish by repeating my apology and saying thank you. You guys have been crazily supportive the past year, which is more than I ever expected and, frankly, deserve. I can’t convey enough gratitude for reading my stuff, and I hope to continue writing for you for the foreseeable future. Big thanks as well to many other progression fantasy authors that have been helpful or simply chill and friendly, like Rob J Hayes and John Bierce.

Until next time~

One Comment on “Where I’ve been + some long overdue updates”

  1. I was getting slightly worried since you haven’t posted in a long time. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better health wise. I’m just wondering though: should readers read the updated version of Cradle of Sea and Soil before book 2 comes out, or is it fine to have just read the original version? Also, what are the chances of Stormbringers coming out at some point in 2023?

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